Monday, 24 February 2014

Truth and The Bounds of Reason

100th Article! 
There never comes a point where a theory can be said to be true. The most that one can claim for any theory is that it has shared the successes of all its rivals and that it has passed at least one test which they have failed. - A.J. Ayer


       Language is a powerful tool  for an organism, it enables it to communicate vital information to other organisms, which may or may not be in its own species. Languages differ in complexity according to the spectrum of evolution, the further back you go on the evolutionary timeline the means of communication between organisms will be much simpler. Language is therefore evolutionary advantageous to have and it primarily functions as a tool to increase chances of survival and reproduction.

       However an organism might exist with a highly evolved and functioning brain which has the capability to develop a complex language which has functions which are not strictly related to pure survival or reproduction. Humans are the only example that we know of at present which exhibits this linguistic characteristic. Our language of course fits the evolutionary trend, we need it to communicate about food, sex and other mundane things but the complexity of our language has evolved so that we can communicate about abstract concepts.

       One of the most intriguing and important aspects of our language is that some statements can be true or false. We are told many things everyday, about daily life, in the classroom, by the news reporters on the television and in the books that we read. Is there a simple, logical and rational method to quickly decide what is true and what is false?

         Statements Within A Logical System

      What I mean by a 'logical system' is a set of pre-determined rules and definitions, a statement within such a system can obey or disobey these rules and definitions. For example the easiest logical system to use is mathematics. 1+2 = 3 obeys the definitions and rules of numbers, 1+5 =9 disobeys the rules and definitions. Another example is this; A married man has a wife or husband  obeys the definitions which we assigned to the word married i.e. anyone who is married has a wife or husband. One can quickly see that a statement obeying these rules is equivalent to the statement being true and disobedience to these rules is akin to falsehood. This is simply trivial. What this means is that to decide whether statements in a closed logical system (only determined by a set of axioms or 'rules' ) are true or false, one only needs to check if they obey the rules. The truth or falsehood of these statements are either certainly true or certainly false, that means we cannot have any doubt either way.

     So it seems all mathematics is simply trivial. Apply the rules and you can work out all the truths in the system... so it should be easy right? Wrong. The system of mathematics is extremely complex and even if a human creates a set of simple axiomatic rules, to prove a statement within that system may require completely different logic or thinking power. For example Fermat's last theorem can be easily stated but it took Andrew Wiles 10 years to solve it and it required studying of many different areas of mathematics which seem completely unrelated. This is the oddity or beauty of mathematics.

     We now have a method to determine the truth of statements within a logical system.... but these are trivial and not related to the real world. So how can we decide what makes a statement about the real world true?

Statements about the real world 

   If I state something about the external world, there must be a way to somehow check that what I have said relates to something in the world. If I said all swans are white, I can go out and see if they are really are white or not... if they are my statement is true if not my statement is false. Is this truth certain and 100%?  No, because I can only observe a finite amount of swans... there may be swans which are black but i have not yet observed them. Because I cannot possibly observe all objects everywhere and at all times there may be an opportunity that I could observe an object which makes my statement false, it is this doubt which makes all truths about the world APPROXIMATIONS. This is the essence of empirical... or scientific truth. In the infinite future there may be a possibility that we could witness something which prove us wrong.

   However to state that swans are white is true, in the sense that, if you observe a swan there is an extremely high probability that it will be white.  Most people state empirical truths as if they are certain but it is in fact impossible for such truths to ever become certain.

  This implies that as you do more observations to justify a statement and accumulate more evidence for it, the statements empirical truth becomes stronger. It is exactly the same for scientific theories (which are just collections of carefully worked statements) the more evidence in favor for a theory... the more 'true' it is.

   People state that if we apply mathematics to the real world we could get certain truth. This is not true however because certain truth only exists in closed logical systems. The universe is not closed or more precisely our knowledge of the system (the universe) is finite which means we do not know all the rules to the system... which as you guessed it implies that there could be a rule which overturns certain present truths = uncertainty.

   This method of verifying statements with observation seems simple yet we witness confusions and controversy when it comes to the existence of supernatural things. We must be consistent and apply our method to all statements about the world. We all know that the moon exists because we have all observed it and astronomers have measured its gravitational effects, this is the same of all common objects. However if I claim that an object exists which governs the world and is its creator I would expect to collect evidence of its existence before my claim would hold any truth value. There is no present evidence to verify claims about supernatural beings like God, ghosts or vampires so any statements claiming their existence are simply meaningless. Note that these claims are not false because a statement about the world can only be false if evidence contradicts its claims. There is no evidence either way about statements about God etc. so we render such statements meaningless... which in my opinion is worse than false statements. False statements at least lead us in the direction of truth by ruling out ideas and what not.

The bounds of reason

   We must realize that when we observe the real world we are using our sensory equipment and our cognitive tools which have been carved out by natural selection. So how we perceive the real world is relative to how our bodies interact with the world. 

   One could argue that as language is a construct built upon the structure of an organisms brain... and if truth exists in the world of language does this imply that truth itself is relative to the organisms brain? This is a hard question. If the answer is yes then physicist who look for universal laws of nature are simply looking for universal 'human relative' laws of nature... does this mean there search is pointless?

   I believe that as nature fits so well with mathematics i.e. the natural phenomena that we see in the world obeys nice mathematical systems.. could imply that the universe is itself a closed logical system. The laws which we discover via science are merely the uncovering of the laws of closed logical system of the universe. We can only approximate to these laws. So in this sense we are really working out something external but which we are still a part of. This is a very hard concept to get your head around. 

   There is an idea, promoted by string theorist Leonard Susskind, that the universe itself is a hologram of a mathematical construct... a hologram in the eyes of observers in the system? We don't know... we don't even know if questions like this make sense or are even worth talking about.

   So the physical limits of our brains could pose a boundary to how much we can reason from nature. We are doing pretty well so far and with the advancement of complicated, huge and intricated experiments such as the LHC and with the progress of computers we could witness AI which surpass our own cognitive limits. 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

How to actually gain muscle... put simply.

1) Calorie Surplus:  This means your calorie intake should be more than the calories you need to maintain your current physique. Calculate your maintenance using the Harris-Benedict formula. Also eat much more than this.

2) Eat good food. No junk food. Junk food has nothing in it which can benefit you, yes it has calories but the damage done is much more than the good done from simply consuming calories.

Recommended foods:

Brown rice
tuna steak
whey protein
nuts (like brazils)

if you eat these types of foods throughout your eating period to go way beyond your maintenance then you will gain weight and if you exercise properly too.... it will be mostly lean mass.

3) Weights and HIT training.  Yes do cardio... but HIT is a different type of cardio it is high intensity and high impact. Studies indicate that HIT training produces more testosterone and increases the bodies ability to burn fat. I do 1 minute high and 1 minute low for 30 minutes on the stepper nearly everyday in the gym.

With weight training, split your muscles but don't be too strict! If your triceps feel like they can do more sets even though you did them yesterday.... kill them again until you feel it the following days. So have chest, leg, shoulders, back and arm day but activate some other muscles during those days just to ensure muscle fibre damage.

Never count your reps or sets. Do drop sets and do each set to failure. E.g.   bench i do say 100 kg then drop to 90 kg. Do it again. Then as I tire I go from 90kg to 80kg ..... i keep doing this until I end up with 40 kg or less. This forces usage of all fibres in the tissue. Apply this to all sets in all muscle groups.

4) Rest. Have at least 1 full day of rest but only rest when you cannot activate anymore muscles... one day you will feel like everything is fucked.

5) Don't be too precise. This can lead to failure. Just ensure you are way above your caloric maintenance, you are eating lots of good food, going to failure using drop sets (volume training). You will see progress in 2 months maybe more. Keep going, just keep going.

6) Welcome to obsession. After a while you will become an addict, this makes things easier as you will automatically go to the gym. Just ensure that you are doing it for yourself so you reap the benefits.


Friday, 7 February 2014

Footage of Russian Men Abusing and Attacking Members Of LGBT Communty Is An Absolute Outrage

Please watch this degrading video, which depicts beatings and humiliations of gay people, to become aware of this despicable attitude which some Russians have.

Russia has been and is still being criticized for making it illegal to spread material relating to the non-traditional sexual relations, basically this means that in the eyes of the justice system publicly showing gay material is wrong. The justice system in most developed states is the most powerful institution. The law is the apparent protection of the civilians of its state from actions or offenses which are deemed wrong. So if in Russia the spread of homosexual material is seen as an act which is so wrong that, the justice system has to protect the people from it, this will only send extremely misguided messages to people. That homosexual relations are something wrong, something which can cause harm or impingement of freedom.

Nationalists in Russia beating minorities is a common thing... don't believe me? Watch this...

but the attack and degradation of the LGBT community is far worse. As some Russian groups interpret the law to mean that the LGBT community is a group which is wrong, sick or any sense lower to them they feel it is right to take the law in their own hands. Why stop the spread of gay material when you could just stop the spread of the gay community, surely this is more effective?  This could be the logic that some people use to justify these actions. With nationalistic egos already settled within them and groups of men with the idea that violence is a perfectly acceptable tool to express their hatred, these acts are probable and will only get worse.

Many of you are probably asking that the Russian police force should take these groups down and really stamp out these attacks. However we must remember that the police force are normal humans, with their own set of beliefs, if the common and accepted mentality is to hate on LGBT community then the police WILL NOT go out of their way to stop this.

This is completely unacceptable. When I saw the video which a friend posted on a social network I actually felt huge anger and sinking of my heart. I rarely feel this. Normally I assess if acts are wrong by simply carry out the rule that: if an act restricts ones freedom without consent... it is wrong. Here the rule still applies but it seems it struck a huge emotional cord in me.

Every person has the freedom to do and say whatever they want IF and ONLY IF this does not impinge the freedom of others. If two men stand before me and kiss, hug and hold hands my freedom is not restricted. No harm has come to me. Personally I actually encourage this as I like people enjoying their freedom as much as they can. Even if I completely felt disgusted, it wouldn't matter. They still have the right to kiss, hug and hold hands.

However not many people share this easy going rationale and some groups in Russia seem to lack the understanding that people are equal and hate crimes are completely wrong and the reasons as to why they are wrong are wholly justified. So what is the solution to tackle this hatred and violence?

As we said before the law carries huge power across the territory of the state. No hint of inequality to the LGBT community should exist within the law... so this means making gay material okay to be viewed wherever heterosexual material is viewed. The police force must increase their effort in stopping all violence and giving out severe penalties and sentences to those leading or taking part in abuse against LGBT's and any minority group. The big players on the internet need to make a conscious effort to not ban videos of hatecrimes, but to keep them there, so people all over the world can witness this disgusting behavior and to share their concern towards this.

This means that pressure will be exerted on these hateful groups from all corners of society so that their crimes come to a gradual halt and that the next generation will sprout up in a more learned environment.